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Keeping the Construction Pipeline Filled

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While construction continues as essential business in most states, Needham DBS has concerns that the construction services supply chain is being disrupted. As leading indicators to construction activity, the Architectural and Engineering services sector must keep the pipeline filled with new and active design to prevent downturns in the second and third quarter construction projects. There’s a tremendous amount of fear in the country and the next few weeks will only add to that anxiety as many of the hot spot areas around the country reach closer to their peak. Experts say that those areas may not start to see relief until the third week in April and much of the country may not be back to work until early June.

Needham DBS has been busy working through the backlog of projects that were lined up going into the COVID-19 pandemic. The approach is to work through that backlog as quickly as possible to free up opportunities that require “speed to market” resources, either services or materials. Architects and Engineers should be procuring new work to keep the pipeline primed but many new projects aren’t kicking off due to owner uncertainty or restrictions in commercial real estate lending.

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Masked Bandits

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Employees relocated to home stations on Monday, March 23, 2020 ahead of the Kansas City metro stay-at-home orders. In a rare sighting, two masked bandits were found colluding in the Needham DBS conference room. CFO, Susan Fox Sherry and President, Karen Hand, geared up with makeshift personal protection equipment, met with Chairman Jeff Needham for a debriefing and critical planning meeting.

Branch Office Stech

jeremyworkstation Stech Home Office

Needham DBS is opening new branch offices all over the metro! (at the request of the county government).

On a related note, table saws make stable office furniture in more than one way.

Kansas City Metro "Stay At Home" Order

The Kansas City Metro counties on both the Missouri and Kansas side of the state line have issued a "Stay At Home" order effective March 24, 2020.  All employees in the Lenexa KS office are being transitioned to home based operations immediately.  All employees are most easily accessible through email.  

Needham DBS anticipates the Fort Wayne office will quickly follow and several employees are already home-based in preparation for that order.

Schedule and Supply Chain Disruptions

Needham DBS has been operating in a mostly “business as usual” manner through the COVID-19 pandemic but the reality is, things will not be “business as usual” for some time. As the President tries to wrangle the explosion of new cases and the impacts on the economy, drastic measures may be required to mitigate those risks. State and local government leaders took the message from the President seriously and have imposed restrictions on schools and businesses keeping the spread of the virus from escalating locally. Needham DBS has been closely monitoring the situation and is ready to stand with the President, Governors, and local leaders to make the adjustments necessary to protect the safety and health of our employees as well as our communities.

We are not aware of major disruptions at this time but given the day to day changes, it’s best to be prepared. Schedules may be impacted as we transition to at-home work environments to curb community spread. For material supply projects, there are potential delays and disruptions in our vendor supply chain due to plant closures, we have already been put on alert by most manufacturers.

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Needham DBS Open for Business

Needham DBS is currently operating in a mostly “business as usual” manner during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have taken precautions to help protect our employees and offered remote access to work from home through VPN connections should it be necessary to do so. With locations in Fort Wayne, IN and Lenexa, KS the less densely populated areas have resulted in just a few cases regionally and we hope that remains the case throughout the coming weeks.

Both office locations will be closed to all visitors. We are available by phone, video conference and email.

Pittsburg Middle School Wins Award

PittStateMiddleSchoo_20200220-171042_1 Pittsburg Middle School Addition

The Pittsburg Middle School Addition was selected for the 2019 Kansas ACI Concrete Construction award for the Low Rise Buildings category. The award was presented to the team at the annual Kansas ACI Concrete Construction Awards program on February 12, 2020 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan, KS the evening prior to the Scholer-Peterson Concrete Conference.

The Precast Wall Panels were designed and detailing by Needham DBS with Crossland Prefab being the precast supplier. Other team members who worked on the project were Corner Greer & Associates, DLR Group, and Crossland Construction Co.

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Champs!

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Super proud of our Kansas City Chiefs for Winning the Championship! Go Chiefs!

TiltLab Founding Donor

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Needham DBS has donated $10,000 to the inaugural campaign, raising seed money needed to establish Tilt Lab.

As a philanthropic partner of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, Tilt Lab’s mission is to cultivate emerging techniques, technologies and ideas with promising applicability for the tilt-up concrete construction industry. With a focus on disruptive and transformative innovation, Tilt Lab will seek to embrace change, further exploiting the already established benefits of the tilt-up system and facilitate collaboration to deliver game-changing innovation related to tilt-up concrete construction.

Hand and Gebel Present at Tilt-Up Convention

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Karen Hand, President at Needham DBS, and Barclay Gebel, VP Operations at Concrete Strategies, teamed up to present the Case Study for Project Dylan to a packed house at the 2019 Tilt-Up Convention and Expo held in Atlanta.

The composite panel industry is on the frontier of emerging design technologies; the innovation is ripe and ready to propel our industry into the future. Project Dylan is a new prototype fulfillment center, and this seminar will use it as a case study to better understand today’s composite panel industry. The warehouse building’s slab-on-grade footprint is approximately 700,000 square feet, and it has an additional 1.95 million square feet of elevated deck. The exterior is clad with 330,000 square feet of insulated tilt-up panels.

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Needham DBS Searching for Talent

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Needham DBS is seeking talent for both the Fort Wayne Indiana and Lenexa Kansas offices.  Needham DBS has a culture focused on finding the right candidates for long-term career positions rather than filling job postings.  Please send resume and cover letter to khand@needham-dbs.com for consideration.  

Structural Engineer Job Description:
Design of building structures including design of structural steel, reinforced concrete, masonry and wood structures. Provide technical design drawings and calculations to easily convey design intent to clients. Learn and understand project and company standards and procedures. Utilize AutoCAD and/or REVIT for projects.
  • Minimum of 5-10 years related work experience
  • Bachelor Degree in Structural Engineering or Architectural Engineering
  • Master’s Degree preferred
  • Professional Engineer License
  • Experience in AutoCAD, STAAD, RAM
  • Experience in REVIT preferred
  • Ability to communicate well with clients
  • Good professional writing skills

Structural Intern Engineer Job Description:

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May Technology Celebrates 55 Years

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May Technology & Mfg, Inc. (MTM) celebrates 55 Years of business with an Open House to showcase their new expansion and other upgrades made to their facility on May 16, 2019.

Founded in 1964, Ernie May began his business with a tooling machine and a small shop. Ernie’s sons, Steve and Reno May, learned the business from their dad and both joined the family business. With advancing technologies, Steve and Reno were instrumental in growing the facility to a high-speed CNC Machining and Tooling operation. Steve and Reno are proud to showcase the new building while preserving much of the history. The tour noted the original building footprint and the museum, just off the lobby, showcases and preserves many of the machines, tools and furniture used throughout the years of operation.

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Brewood Joins SEAKM Officers

Brewood1 Todd Brewood, PE, SE

Todd Brewood has been elected Vice President of the Kansas City Chapter of SEAKM. The appointment is for the 2019-2020 year. The role of the VP is primarily to provide support to the chapter President and to work with the other committee members in organizing the monthly chapter meetings. Todd hopes to help encourage SEAKM membership growth, and to find useful and interesting topics to share and discuss at the monthly meeting.  Needham DBS heavily supports participation in industry organizations and appreciates Todd's committment to further the profession of Structural Engineering.

Todd started his term by attending SEAKM’s Annual Meeting in Wichita, KS on Thursday, April 25, 2019.  The meeting was held at the Wichita Advanced Learning Library.  Presentations included the Oklahoma State Capitol masonry restoration, steel cracking during galvanization, engineering software packages concerns and wrapped up with partially-composite tilt-up panels by Needham DBS' Jason Blankenship.

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Hard Hat Tour

HardHatTour Needham DBS attends Hard Hat Tour.

Engineers and Architects were invited to attend the CPG Hard Hat Tour at Loews Kansas City Hotel on May 8, 2019.  The hotel, under construction at 1511 Baltimore, is a $325 M, 24-story, Post-Tensioned Concrete structure.  Todd Brewood, Sean Wonderlich and Jeremy Stech attended the tour, learned about the processes and logistics of post-tensioned slabs and got some great views of the city.  A special thanks to CPG, SEAKM and JE Dunn for the opportunity.

#buildwithstrength   

Steel: A Beautiful Mess

steel Domino Park - Photo Courtesy Jeanie Abbett

Not everyone sees an intricate jumbling of steel as a beautiful mess, but I do.

As we grind through engineering and drawings with computers assisting us every step of the way, we become disconnected. Construction schedules are so fast that we step on site and see steel progressing so rapidly, worried about the milestone dates, we don’t step back to observe the achievements and the sheer beauty of the steel.  

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Kansas State University: CNS629 Tilt-Up Construction

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Kansas State University and Professor Kimberly Waggle Kramer, are leaders in promoting tilt-up construction to its students in the Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science (ARE/CNS). As one of the only universities in the US offering a full semester-long course in tilt-up construction, students of CNS629 learn about all aspects of the tilt-up construction process.

Needham DBS was invited by Professor Kramer to do a special topics guest lecture. Jason Blankenship, a 2007 BS/MS graduate of K-State ARE/CNS, presented on the topic of Tilt-Up Sandwich Panels. Topics covered included: history of sandwich panels, energy code background, wythe connector types, and non-composite and composite panel behavior, mechanics, and construction processes.

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Rising to the Challenge

Project_Dylan_110618-68-copy Project Dylan

Project Dylan is a new prototype fulfillment center for Amazon. The warehouse building has an approx. footprint of 700,000 SF slab on grade and another 1.95 million SF of elevated deck. The exterior is clad with 330,000 SF of full height composite insulated tilt-up panels. The panels are non-load bearing for gravity but as a VE alternate on the project, the panels do carry large shear forces for seismic loading.  

With the tallest panel standing at 81’-1” tall, Concrete Strategies (CSI) set a company record for the tallest tilt-up panel ever erected on a project and an industry record for the tallest composite panel ever constructed. This was accomplished utilizing an innovative composite panel design by Needham DBS.  Meadow Burke introduced the Super 62 which was used on this project.  The composite panel industry is on the frontier of emerging design technologies, the innovation is ripe to propel our industry in to the future.

Mike Stein Attends Lenexa State of the City Address

20190220_11465_20190228-171459_1 Mike Stein and his Daughter attend State of the City.

Needham DBS’ Mike Stein attended the Mayor’s 2019 State of the City address for Lenexa, KS on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at Hyatt Place & Lenexa Conference Center.

A few of the highlights of the presentation by Mayor Mike Boehm, in his 17th address:

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Olathe West High School: A Case Study in Tilt-Up Collaboration

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The team that delivered a tilt-up concrete panel solution for the award-winning Olathe West High School project were invited to present at the 42nd Annual Scholer-Peterson Concrete Conference at Kansas State University on February 2, 2019. Jason Blankenship with Needham DBS, along with Travis Downing with McCown Gordon Construction and Aaron Curtis with Lithko Contracting gave a presentation highlighting the challenging design and construction aspects of the project and outlined the process the team used for successfully executing the complex project.

Some of the key points of the presentation were: reviewing the factors in selecting a tilt-up approach, the challenging lateral system design, execution of the segmented arc “black box” panels, detailing coordination, the use of cast-in thin brick and insulated panels.  In addition, the use of BIM for tilt-up panels was discussed. Revit was used for the BIM not only as a design coordination tool, but also as a platform for tilt-up panel detailing, and then leveraging the benefits for construction use.

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Needham DBS 2018 Annual Meeting

Needham DBS Board of Directors held their Annual Board of Directors and Shareholders Meeting to present financials to current shareholders on Friday, January 18, 2019. The meeting was held in the Fireside Room at the Shadow Glen Country Club followed by dinner in the Main Dining Room.

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